Coffee Cardamom Cake | Gluten Free

Warmly spiced gluten free coffee cake with sweet coffee and butter glaze.This moist cake is perfect when paired with a cup of your favourite brew, and a friend or two to share it with.Coffee Cardamom Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI made this cake to celebrate my friend Lynn‘s 30th birthday! This week my sweet baking and blogging buddy celebrates her birthday – and you can’t have a birthday without a birthday cake! Lynn and I bonded over our love of baking science, the colour orange, cardamom, anything ending in -oatmeal cookie or beginning in lemon poppyseed. And in two weeks Chris and I get to meet Lynn and her incredible husband Matt for the first time! I’m sure there will be lots of celebrating while we are taking a local’s tour of Philadelphia, but I just had to celebrate my sweet bloggy friend’s birthday with a cake, which probably wouldn’t pack very well!Coffee Cardamom Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeLynn makes no secret of her love of coffee, and we are both massive fans of the sometimes under-used cardamom. This cake has a decent dose of each, and is sweetened only with brown sugar, which contributes moistness and an extra depth to this simple, but celebration-worthy coffee cake. Sometimes coffee cakes can be a little dry, but the brown sugar in this cake, along with the Greek yoghurt keep it nice and moist, and the coffee and butter glaze that tops the cooled cake gives a final touch of moisture and sweet coffee crackle. This gluten free cake is so simple to put together. Just creaming, beating, stirring, baking, and frosting. Simple but perfect. Coffee Cardamom Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeSimple though this cake might be, its simplicity is deceptive. I cut myself a slice to taste the cake before taking the remains to work, but I found myself returning not long after I’d finished that first slice for just ‘one more piece’. If you are a ‘one more sliver’ person who finds herself standing bathed in refrigerator light cutting perfectly straight lines with her fork, then this cake is dangerous to you – and so worth making! Everything about this cake is classic but perfect. Take it with you to a morning tea, or bake it up for your next celebration, this cake is simple sweet heaven.

Happy birthday Lynn! Coffee Cardamom Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Coffee Cardamom Cake

Gluten Free | Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 80 grams brown rice flour
  • 80 grams buckwheat flour
  • 50 grams white rice flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 125 grams butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 150 grams (3/4 cup) brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup Greek/natural yoghurt

For the frosting

  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 1/3 cup walnuts

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and butter and line an 8-inch (20cm) round cake tin. Set aside until required.
  2. Mix together coffee and warm water and set aside to cool.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, white rice flour, baking powder, and cardamom.
  4. In the bowl of a standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl using a handmixer) beat together butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy.
  5. Add cooled coffee mixture and vanilla extract and beat in.
  6. Mix in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions.
  7. Beat in flour in two additions, alternating with the yoghurt.
  8. Pour batter into prepared cake tin and smooth the top. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes back clean.
  9. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
  10. To make the frosting dissolve coffee in milk. Place in the bowl of a standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment along with the butter and icing sugar. Beat until smooth.
  11. Frost the top of the cooled cake and top with the walnuts.

Coffee Cardamom Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Mocha Banana Muffins

I believe that if you can eat chocolate for breakfast you should, and if that chocolate happens to be healthy, paired with coffee, and baked into soft muffin-y form then all the better. If you have bananas languishing in your fruit bowl at the end of the week, some cocoa powder, and a few eggs, then you are well on your way to a healthy weekend breakfast treat.

Mocha Banana Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

This weekend I am going to the Good Food and Wine Show with my friend Casey, but beforehand we are meeting with my Mum, sister, and friend Bree at the Farmer’s Markets for breakfast and coffee – you know, to pre-fuel for our day of eating samples of myriad delicious things. So, healthy, gluten free, chocolate and banana muffins were my pick for a breakfast treat. Paired with a cappuccino from my favourite coffee shop we will be ready for a day of touring the halls of the convention centre in search of nibbles of cheese, and new gluten free products.

Mocha Banana Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

You are going to love these muffins. Quick to assemble and put in the oven, you can make them in the morning and serve them fresh to your family for breakfast, or you can mix them up while dinner is cooking and have fresh treats for the whole family’s lunch boxes. This recipe would make a great baking project to make with little ones who are just learning to bake. A few simple steps, some measuring (a great way to learn maths – it certainly helped me), and a delicious result! All you need to do is mash bananas (a great job for little kids too), mix in yoghurt and eggs, and add to some gluten free flour with a handful of chocolate chips (because, sometimes you need chocolate chips in your breakfast). Bake them for 20 minutes and voila! Mocha Banana Muffins for the whole family to enjoy.

Mocha Banana Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

 

Mocha Banana Muffins

Makes 12 muffins | Gluten Free | Leftovers will keep 3 days at room temperature in an airtight container or wrapped tightly frozen for up to 2 months

Note: if you don’t need these to be gluten free, use 210 grams (1 1/2 cups) plain flour in place of the hazelnut meal, sorghum flour, and white rice flour.

Ingredients

  • 2 large bananas, well mashed
  • 2/3 cup non-fat Greek yoghurt (or plain natural yoghurt)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoon rice bran oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee powder
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup hazelnut meal
  • 1/3 cup white rice flour
  • 2/3 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F) and line a 12-cup muffin pan with muffin papers.
  2. In a medium bowl mix together mashed bananas, yoghurt, eggs, oil, and vanilla essence until thick and smooth.
  3. Dissolve coffee powder in water and add to banana mixture along with brown sugar. Whisk until smooth.
  4. In a large bowl whisk together hazelnut meal, white rice flour, sorghum flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk until just combined.
  6. Add chocolate chips and stir gently until well distributed.
  7. Divide batter evenly between muffin papers.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops bounce back when gently touched.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove from the pan and cool to room temperature.

Mocha Banana Muffins | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Irish Coffee Ice Cream for St. Patrick’s Day

Do you have a favourite day of the year? One that isn’t your birthday or Christmas?

For me, St. Patrick’s Day has always been my favourite day of the year. I love the green and the glitter, the shamrocks and the leprechauns, the Guinness (not the taste but the cooking possibilities) and the music, not to mention that I have a long lived obsession with Ireland, and…ah…Irishmen. It’s the accent and it’s genetic.

When I was in school the tale of St. Patrick enthralled me, and pictures of the emerald green isle where the sea crashes harshly against sheer rock faces and the hills roll down and around and gently cup charming farmhouses stood in sharp contrast to the wide golden land of my reality.

Ireland has long been on my list of places to go and I will get there someday. For now, I stick to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with all my might and reading Maeve Binchy  novels.

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Now, I know St Patrick’s Day is still a week and a bit away, but sometimes you make something and you just can’t wait to share it – this Irish Coffee Ice Cream is one of those recipes. And when it comes to ice cream, a little forethought and preparation goes a long way to ensure the end product is successful.

Irish Coffee Ice Cream | Thoroughly Nourished Life

This ice cream is rich, thick and smooth and all-encompassing. This is not ice cream that you eat while sitting on the couch watching ‘Leap Year’. This ice cream demands attention. The coffee comes through strongly, so if you aren’t a huge coffee fan you could reduce the amount of beans to one or even half a cup. The whisky here is non-negotiable if you want to call it Irish Coffee (as defined by the National Standards Authority of Ireland), but if you choose to leave it out, you could increase the vanilla to 2 teaspoons and have a very decent coffee-flavoured ice cream instead. Use good whisky here too. You don’t need a lot, but use something that you like to drink because you will taste the whisky in the finished product.

This only makes a small batch, but you only need a dainty scoop of this smooth, thick cloud of creamy frozen custard to feel satisfactorily indulged.

Irish Coffee Ice Cream | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Irish Coffee Ice Cream

Slightly adapted from Simply Recipes

Note: This recipe provides the instructions for making ice cream with an ice cream maker. If you do not own an ice cream maker, never fear use these instructions from the King of Ice Cream David Lebovitz (http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2007/07/making-ice-crea-1/).

If you are using an ice cream maker, remember to place the ice cream maker bowl into the freezer 24 hours in advance.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups milk (I used 2%)
  • ¾ cup raw sugar
  • 1 ½ cups coffee beans
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 ½ cups cream
  • 5 egg yolks at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons Irish Whisky

Method

  1. Heat milk, raw sugar, coffee beans, salt and cream in a sauce pan until warmed through and letting off steam – do not let this come to the boil.
  2. Remove from the heat and allow to steep for one hour. If you want a less strong coffee flavour, steep less beans for a shorter amount of time.
  3. After steeping has occurred fill a large bowl with ice and a bit of water and settle a medium size bowl into the ice. Place a fine metal sieve over the medium bowl.
  4. In a separate medium size bowl whisk egg yolks together.
  5. Reheat milk mixture until warm again. Do not boil.
  6. Slowly, whisk a small amount of heated milk into the egg yolks. Continue whisking and pouring heated milk mixture into egg yolks. We want to keep whisking pouring slowly to prevent the yolks from cooking.
  7. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan. You are now halfway through making the custard!
  8. Place saucepan on a medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens. This can take up to ten minutes. Just keep stirring. The mixture should coat the back of the spoon and you should be able to draw a clear line through the coating that doesn’t disappear immediately.
  9. Once your custard has thickened, remove mixture from the heat.
  10. Pour custard through the strainer to remove the coffee beans. Discard the beans.
  11. Stir in vanilla and whisky.
  12. Keep stirring until the mixture has cooled down.
  13. Wrap bowl tightly and chill in refrigerator overnight.
  14. The next day, remove custard from fridge and freeze as per ice cream maker’s instructions.
  15. After churning the ice cream, freeze for about four hours (if you can wait that long!) then scoop into bowls and garnish with shaved dark chocolate and some whipped cream if you are feeling extra naughty!

I know this seems a very long process, but the end result is extremely rewarding.

So dear reader, how do you plan to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? I’ll be wearing green and cooking colcannon for dinner, oh, and listening to Westlife on my morning run…

Irish Coffee Ice Cream | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Coffee Banana Date Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

How do you say thank you? Are you a flowers or chocolates person?

Perhaps a nice note? Thank you notes are exciting and old fashioned and polite. No one ever seems to send them anymore. Note to myself: I am extremely guilty of the email thank you note. Next note to self: buy nice thank you notes for future requirements. And stamps.

Anyway, the way I am saying thank you to my workmates for their lovely ‘Get Well’ wishes, and the flowers and chocolates they sent to me is with a tray filled with Coffee Banana Date Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream.

Banana Cupcakes 1

I am also (virtually) sending a tray of these to each and every one of my online friends who messaged me over whichever social network we are connected by to say Get Well. You filled my heart with happiness and kept me company in the night hours. Thank you. I love you. Have a cupcake – actually, have two.

These banana cupcakes are made with leftover bananas that are delicately balanced on the edge of almost rotten. The flesh of the banana needs to be crumbled velvet so that when you peel them they practically mash themselves. If you use younger bananas they will not mash as nicely. Be patient with your bananas. Put them in a paper bag for a few days if you would like to speed up the process.

Banana Cupcake 2

The bananas are paired with melted, cooled butter, coffee, vanilla and dates and baked into a pound cake textured cupcake dotted with plumped-up dates. Then cooled completely and frosted with dark chocolate buttercream. Because thank yous should always be paired with chocolate buttercream.

Coffee Banana Date Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream

 For the cupcakes:

  • 125 grams butter
  • 1 cup dates
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 360 grams plain flour
  • 150 grams brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large, very, very ripe bananas mashed (~1 ½ cups)
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ Greek/ natural yoghurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence

 For the buttercream

  • 150 grams butter, softened
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 3-4 cups icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

To make the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line 2 12-hole muffin pans with cupcake papers.
  2. Place butter in a microwave-safe bowl and melt using short bursts of heat (around 10-15 seconds). Once melted, set aside to cool.
  3. Put dates in a small bowl with boiling water. Leave for 5 minutes, drain well, and then dice dates into small pieces. Spread out on a paper towel and leave to cool.
  4. In a large mixing bowl whisk together plain flour, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder.
  5. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together mashed bananas, milk, Greek yoghurt, and eggs.
  6. Add butter to mashed banana mixture and stir together well.
  7. Add mashed banana mixture to flour and mix until just combined. Do not over-mix. Traces of flour are okay.
  8. Add dates and stir to distribute.
  9. Divide batter between paper cups.
  10. Slide trays into oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, swap position of trays halfway through baking time.
  11. Test cupcakes by pressing lightly on the top. If they bounce back then the cupcakes are done.
  12. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting:

  1. Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer beat until light and fluffy. This usually takes around 5 minutes.
  2. Fit a piping bag with a star tip, fill bag with frosting and decorate cooled cupcakes. Alternately you can use a knife to spread the icing thickly on top.

Enjoy!

Banana Cupcakes 5

What are your plans for the weekend friends? Chris and I are lucky enough to be going to two dinner parties! That means double the dessert!

Are you a banana in baked goods person? Obviously from the copious number of banana bread recipes on this site you can tell that I am (get it from my Dad) but Chris isn’t a fan! Oh well, more for me!

Coffee-Vanilla Sandwich Cookies (gluten free)

My childhood is told in a recollection of biscuits, cookies, and shortbread. Kingston biscuits dipped in china cups of sweet black tea. Almost damp Monte Carlo’s carefully wiggled apart so that the filling would stick to one side and you could nibble around the sweet jam and coconut until you had a perfect section of biscuit and filling to savour for as long as your patience lasted. Chocolate Marie biscuits that Mum would pack into my school lunch box. Shortbread fingers that Dad would break out on the weekend; we would sit outside with him during one of his breaks from tinkering about in the shed and enjoy them while sitting in the sunshine with cold paving stones pressing against the backs of our summer-tanned legs. The custard creams and orange creams that would linger a little longer in the biscuit barrel, but by the end of the week would surely have disappeared into hungry after-school bellies and Dad’s lunchbox. The store bought gluten free versions of these look similar, but are never as satisfactory. So, in need of a saucer-side cookie I ventured into the Thoroughly Nourished kitchen to create my own.

DSC00804

These coffee and vanilla biscuits are perfect for afternoon tea, or for packing into lunch boxes. They would sit elegantly on a tiered cake stand for the most formal of occasions, and are just as at home in a container in the refrigerator that is the source of midnight snacks and little illicit nibbles. They are also particularly delicious alongside a cup of tea and a dusty old novel on a  cloudy spring afternoon. And, because they are gluten free, everyone can enjoy them.

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Coffee-Vanilla Sandwich Cookies (gluten free)

These biscuits are gluten-free so be sure to check the ingredients in items such as icing sugar and cornflour are free of gluten-containing substances too. Some companies use wheat in their cornflour or icing sugar to help with thickening and stabilisation. You will need a 4.5cm fluted (or other shape) cookie cutter for this recipe, and a rolling pin.

Ingredients

  • 120 grams unsalted butter, softened
  • 100 grams icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 100 grams buckwheat flour, and extra for dusting the bench
  • 50 grams hazelnut meal
  • 25 grams cornflour
  • 35 grams brown rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules

Method

  1. Preheat fan-forced oven to 160C (320F)  (this would be about 170C/340F in a conventional oven) and line two cookie sheets with baking paper. Mix milk with coffee granules and set aside to dissolve fully.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl beat together butter, icing sugar, and vanilla essence with electric beaters until fluffy and light in colour.
  3. Weigh out the buckwheat flour, hazelnut meal, cornflour, and brown rice flour. Add to butter along with the milk. Mix in gently with a wooden spoon until fully combined.
  4. Dust the bench and rolling pin with a light shower of buckwheat flour. Gather dough into a ball and place on the bench. This is a very soft dough, so if it appears to be too delicate to handle just wrap in two layers of plastic and place in the fridge for half an hour.
  5. Roll dough out to 0.5mm-0.8mm thickness. Using a 4.5cm round or fluted cookie cutter cut out cookies and place on lined cookie sheets. Leave about 4cm between cookies.
  6. Place cookie sheets in oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. Rotate the sheets halfway through cooking time. Be careful as they may burn on the edges if left in too long.
  7. Remove cookies and place on a cooling rack until completely cooled. Fit a piping back with a star tip and pipe approximately half a tablespoon of frosting onto half the biscuits. Top with remaining biscuits and press down lightly to ensure they stick together well.
  8. Serve and enjoy. These cookies will keep in the fridge for about 3 days.

For the vanilla frosting:

In a medium-size mixing bowl beat together 1.5 cups icing sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla essence, 50 grams softened unsalted butter, and 1 tablespoon of milk until light and creamy. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes to firm up, and once cookies are cooled use to sandwich them together.

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Crossroads and Bittersweet Chocolate-Espresso Bundt Cake

Although at times in my life I am happy to ride the rails, seek adventure, and revel in the joie de vivre of each day; the time for reflection and self-assessment is always close behind. These periods can be helpful: a congratulatory assessment of how far I have come toward a goal, and how far I have yet to go; or, they can be periods of self-doubt where I question every step I have taken and whether I will ever reach the end.

Here between congratulations and self-doubt lies the bittersweet crossroads of life: the consequence of being an adult in an ever-changing world, of being a woman with dreams and ambitions to make her little piece of the world a little more beautiful, and having an eternally-curious spirit.

Los Angeles skyline from Runyon Canyon

High above the world. Where will the path lead?

Recently I have had cause to reflect on the direction of my career and how to juggle my love of words with my passion for health. At the end of this year I will graduate from my Master’s program. Once again I’ll be out in the world, no longer a student (for the moment…), and ready to make my mark on my little patch of earth.

At the end, at the beginning, in the middle of it all. I have to take a step, and I’m ready for the next adventure, but I just don’t know which path will lead to the happiest ending possible. I suppose that is the lesson of the crossroads; you have to make a decision, any decision, to work towards that happy ending, or risk standing still and never knowing where your life could have lead.

Tell me, dear reader, when is the last time you stood at a crossroads? How did you know which way to turn?

 

Bittersweet Chocolate-Espresso Bundt Cake

Bittersweet Chocolate-Espresso Bundt Cake

Bittersweet Chocolate-Espresso Bundt Cake

Makes one 9-inch bundt cake. This cake is not overly sweet. I didn’t want it to be, rather I wanted to serve a cake that you could eat for morning tea with a cup of coffee that wouldn’t be cloyingly sweet to your tastebuds, but satisfied the need for a little indulgence early in the morning (or late at night like my Dad…).

Ingredients:

  • 280 grams plain flour
  • 120 grams raw sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 50 grams cocoa powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
  • 3/4 cup yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 75 grams dark chocolate, melted and cooled

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC and grease a 9-inch bundt pan.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Measure yoghurt, milk, and cooled dark chocolate into a jug and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl place oil, caster sugar, eggs, vanilla essence, and instant coffee. Using a hand mixer on medium speed beat ingredients together until smooth and thick. This will take about 3 minutes. I set my oven timer just to make sure I beat it for long enough.
  5. Switch to low speed and add dry mixture in three parts alternating with the yoghurt and chocolate mix.
  6. Beat until smooth after each addition.
  7. Pour batter into bundt tin. This is quite a solid mixture but it will rise in the oven. Gently smooth the top of the mix with a spatula but be careful not press down or you will lose some of the air you’ve just beaten in.
  8. Bake cake for 45-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  9. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and allow to cool completely before glazing.
Ready for Mum to taste test.

Ready for Mum to taste test.

Chocolate ganache glaze

In a small microwave-proof bowl place 3/4 cup of chopped milk chocolate. Heat in microwave in 20-second bursts stirring between each burst. When the chocolate is melted add 1/4 cup of pouring cream and 3/4 cup of icing mixture. Whisk until smooth and pour over cooled cake.

If you really knew me…

You would know that I always use the pedestrian crossing because I am incredibly unlucky when it comes to oncoming traffic.

You would see that I get dressed up to go to the local shopping centre for baking ingredients, because there is nothing wrong with wearing heels when you just need some butter and sugar.

It’s called joie de vivre.

You might have seen that I love to dance, even though I’m not very good, and I am not afraid to bust out some moves in the middle of Target.

You would know that I never eat blue m&ms, and that all other m&ms must be consumed in colour pairs.

You would keep the tissues handy because I cry in an instant: an inspiring television ad, a line of poetry, a memory traipsing across my mind elicited by a strain of music.

You would know that I always write in pink pen because it makes me happy. That I know all the words to Piano man, American pie, and Country roads.

You would know that I am a hug-giver, an arm-toucher: I seek to connect through texture.

You would realise that when I do laundry, make dinner, clean the dishes, I am saying I care, for you.

You would know that deep in secret places the fact that you read my words counts more than anything else some days.

If you really knew me, you would know that when I offer you something I have cooked, I am offering you my heart.

The thousands of little things that we innately or overtly know about each other are real connection. They are the riches of everyday life, the anchor for memories, connection, and affection. Open your eyes to the little things about the people around you, what do you really notice about them, what do you really know?

Mocha Pecan Biscotti

This recipe was adapted from the luminous Dorie Greenspan’s volume ‘Baking: from my home to yours’. 
To roast the pecans: spread over a cookie sheet and bake at 180°C for about 8-10 minutes. Then remove from oven and allow to cool before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.
This recipe makes about 24 biscotti, but this will depend on how thickly you cut the dough before its second baking. I prefer a thicker biscuit, but you may have a penchant for a lighter wafer of mocha pecan goodness.

 Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup wholemeal plain flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons finely ground espresso beans
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 80 grams butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup roasted pecans (see note), chopped
  • 100 grams dark chocolate, chopped
  • For finishing: 50 grams of milk chocolate

 Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two cookie sheets with baking paper.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together flours, cocoa powder, espresso beans, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Fit a handheld mixer with the paddle blades. On medium speed beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla and beat together until thick – about two minutes.
  5. Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour mixture in three lots. The dough will thicken rather quickly and you may need to finish mixing it by hand.
  6. Add chopped chocolate and roasted pecans and use a wooden spoon to mix these additions through the biscuit dough.
  7. Divide dough into two balls. Place each on a baking sheet and shape them into logs about 24cm long and 10cm wide.
  8. Bake logs in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes. The surface may crack and this is fine.
  9. Take logs out and leave the oven on. Cool the biscotti logs for about 20-30 minutes.
  10. Slice logs into pieces about 2cm thick (see header note). Stand each slice back onto baking tray and the bake again for about 10 minutes.
  11. Remove biscotti from oven and allow to cool completely.
  12. To finish: place milk chocolate into a small glass bowl and melt in the microwave in two 20-second bursts. Drizzle across cooled biscotti and allow to set.

These biscuits will keep in a well-sealed container on the bench for about a week. I doubt they will last this long though as they are the perfect accompaniment to a mid-morning cup of coffee. Perfect for dunking in a mug of hot chocolate as an after dinner treat, and could even be acceptable as a little bit naughty Sunday morning breakfast with an espresso. They also wrap up very well as a gift for someone you love.

Tell me dear reader, what would you want someone to really know about you?

Vanilla bundt cake with coffee-cream glaze

High tea has always been special in my family. I still have vague childhood memories of starched tablecloths, fine bone china, buckled-patent leather shoes, and the colourful hats that filled the window of the milliner’s shop that once occupied the space adjacent to my favourite tea room in Brisbane. When the lovely Jennifer at Delicieux announced that she was hosting the Sweet Adventures Blog Hop and that the theme was high tea, I just knew that I had to take part. Please hop over to check out Jennifer’s gorgeous Triple Chocolate Honeycomb Cake and the other yummy entries!

While most high tea platters are filled with scones, finger sandwiches, and other individually portioned small treats, I love the idea of having at least one larger cake present at high tea. Not only for the pleasure of slicing into a freshly baked and glazed treat and sharing with your friends, but also because when all the scones are gone and only creamy crumbs remain, and the finger sandwiches have sneakily been fed to the dog after everyone has gone home, there is always cake leftover for the next day.

 

Vanilla bundt cake with coffee-cream glaze

This recipe was adapted from ‘More from Magnolia’ by Alyssa Torey. This volume is a quintessential addition to the shelf of any sweet tooth.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil)
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC and grease a 9-inch bundt pan.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl place oil, caster sugar, and eggs. Using a hand mixer on medium speed beat ingredients together until smooth and thick. This will take about 3 minutes. I set my oven timer just to make sure I beat it for long enough.
  4. Beat in vanilla. Switch to low speed and add dry mixture in three parts alternating with the milk. Beat until smooth after each addition.
  5. Pour batter into bundt tin. This is a very liquid mixture.
  6. Bake cake for 45-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  7. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and allow to cool completely before glazing.

Coffee-cream glaze

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 heaped teaspoon instant coffee
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups icing sugar

Method:

  1. Measure cream into a small microwave-proof bowl. Heat on medium power for 30 seconds, remove and stir, and then heat for another 20 seconds. Be careful as the cream will be very hot at this stage.
  2. Add vanilla and instant coffee to the cream and stir until smooth.
  3. Add coffee cream to the icing sugar and whisk until smooth. Cover, and refrigerate until cool.
  4. Pour over cake. Reserve any extra coffee-cream glaze for dipping slices of cake into after your guests have gone home….

 

Now, head over to Delicieux and enjoy the sweet treats from other Sweet Adventures Blog Hop guests!

Nourished Heart: Band-aids off!

I know I have yet to finish my very personal, deep and meaningful, let-me-tell-you-my-story, series of posts about my relationship with food, but today I had a moment that triggered in me a need to share a different sort of deep and meaningful post. Forgive me, I am an intuitive and we need to do twenty-five things at once or we just aren’t able to work effectively. Drives my sister mad. Anyway.

This moment was something that nourished my heart. Here at Thoroughly Nourished Life I focus a lot on nourishing the soul, as well as mind and body. I believe that an important part of nourishing the soul is nourishing the heart. A year ago my heart was run through a mangle (if you do not know what a mangle is, please refer to this diagram). It was my first real love, my first real heart break, and it broke something inside me for a while. Over the past year I have been slowly (sometimes very slowly) putting all the pieces back together, and in the past few weeks everything has just clicked back into place. As per usual, I needed to reflect on the journey that brought me to this point.

Now, I do not profess to be wise enough to provide the answers to the biggest questions we face in our lives. I like to speculate, but I think that all we can know is the answers for ourself in the moment as we come across each question. Sometimes the answers are fleeting, sometimes there are multiple possibilities for one question, and sometimes the only answer is that there is no answer. How long does it take to mend a broken heart? How do you put all the pieces back together? The answers are different for everyone. For me?

  • Tears. Cry them all. Don’t try and hold them back because you will only fracture from the inside out. It’s like trying to keep lightning in a jar.
  • Get angry. I didn’t really do this one very well. I am more of a self-deprecating, bitterly-ironic anger expressionist. I did get angry at life though. Let the anger come, and then most importantly, let the anger go.
  • Do not relive the moments. In other words: do not be like me and my photographic memory. Don’t look at photos/emails/letters/text messages. Just don’t.
  • Take care of yourself. Stay active. Eat well. Be with people and sunshine. Drink champagne on a Tuesday. Nourish your life.
  • Have a dog. Dogs don’t care if you cry on them and leave tear stains and snot on their fur.
  • Let yourself have a winter, but as soon as spring pokes its first buds out of the ground don’t fight the sunshine and warmer days.
  • Let go. Of all of it. No more pre-conceived ideas about your old future. You have a future – a new one – and it’s all yours. Stop living in the past. Or mourning the past version of what your future might have been.
  • Don’t go hunting. Live life and let the next heart come when it may. Just enjoy being yourself. Utterly and completely you.

Then one spring day you’ll go to the markets, and chat to the cute coffee man who’s been making you a perfect cappuccino every Saturday. You will giggle with your sister and realise that your life didn’t stop a year ago.

It began all over again.